Best American Newspaper Narrative (BANN)

In an effort to foster narrative nonfiction storytelling at newspapers across America, the annual Best American Newspaper Narratives writing contest is conducted by the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference.

Each year, we invite submissions of extraordinary long-form narrative nonfiction that were published the prior year in a daily U.S. newspaper or a U.S. newspaper website. Writers and editors may submit up to five narratives, including narratives that are part of a series. A series will count as one entry. Individuals whose work was published the prior year in a daily U.S. newspaper or a U.S. newspaper website may enter. The Best American Newspaper Narratives writing contest jurors, a pool of award-winning narrative writers and editors from around the country, will select three winners, three runners-up and four notable narratives.

Our 2019 Best American Newspaper Narrative winners (representing work published in 2018) will be published in the 2020 anthology, Best American Newspaper Narratives, Vol. 7.

  • First place winner will receive $1,500 (awarded after the conference)
  • Second place and third place winners receive a plaque
  • All 10 placings are published in the annual anthology Best American Newspaper Narratives
  • All placings are announced prior to the conference

If the winning narrative is co-authored by more than one writer, the Mayborn will divide the award among all authors. The three winning narratives, the three runners-up and the four notable narratives will be published by the University of North Texas Press/Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism in both print and e-book form, in an anthology called the Best American Newspaper Narratives. Rights are granted nonexclusively and the newspaper retains copyright (see entry agreement/release form for additional details).

Details for the 2020 contest:

  • Entries must have been published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2019.
  • Entries must be submitted electronically via email to mayborncontest@unt.edu.
  • Each emailed submission should be in Word format and be capable of printing out on 8.5X11-inch paper. Entries submitted as PDFs also must be capable of printing out on 8.5X11-inch paper. If submitted as a PDF and selected for publication in the anthology, the entrant MUST then provide the submission in Word format to facilitate the anthology's publication.
  • Type “BANN Writing Contest” in the subject line of the entry email.
  • Entries must be submitted to the contest no later than 11:59 p.m. CST Feb. 29, 2020. A complete entry includes the entry; the completed, signed entry agreement/release form; and entry fee payment.
  • Cost is $50 per entry. An online, secure portal is provided for credit card payment. The maximum number of entries is five from a daily U.S. newspaper or U.S. newspaper website. A series is considered one entry. Individuals whose work has appeared in a daily U.S. newspaper or U.S. newspaper website may also enter with a signed entry form from their editor.
  • Entry agreement/release form per entry requires signatures of editor(s) and all authors on a story. Entrants are responsible for securing all required signatures.
  • Entrants to the BANN writing contest are not required to register for the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference but are encouraged to do so and join us!

Editors and writers are strongly encouraged to submit a short, one-page cover letter for each entry explaining the challenges involved in producing the narrative and readers’ reaction to the story after it was published.

Entrants must read, fill out, sign and return a completed entry agreement/release form with each entry.

Download form

Contact:

Jo Ann Livingston: mayborncontest@unt.edu or 214-403-5853 cell phone for contest questions